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Better Than First

A Contemporary Christian Romance
Narrated by: Emmalyn Miles
Length: 3 hrs and 22 mins
Categories: Romance, Contemporary
4.5 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)

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This Story Is Sweet

Publisher's Summary

Nothing will distract Isla Flores from her Paralympic goals.

Her world is work and training, nothing else matters. When her coach and best friend Duncan challenges her to make a 10-item bucket list, she's forced to think about life off the track. 

The more time she spends with Duncan, the more value she sees in everyday life...and love.

Duncan Schmitz went from homelessness to his dream job as a youth pastor.

The only problem is that he's loved Isla from afar for as long as he can remember. He's taken it upon himself to remind her what life is like off the track. And maybe also remind her he's not just her coach, but the one who's cared about her the longest.

Get this sweet, heart-warming, friends-to-lovers romance by best-selling author Kari Trumbo that sounds like a Hallmark movie.

Other Contemporary Books by Kari Trumbo:

  • Whispers in Wyoming
  • Heartstruck and Heavensent
  • Temptation and Tenderness
  • Sensitive and Secure
©2018 Kari Trumbo (P)2018 Kari Trumbo

What members say

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Better than First by Kari Trumbo

The story was so heart warming.. definitely something to melt your heart on a winter.. a perfect Christmas read. I enjoyed listening to this and fell in love with the characters as they discovered love themselves. :) ❤

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Such A Sweet Story!!

I am writing this review in March, and even though this is a book focused on Christmas you can listen to it any time of year.
Isla and Duncan are both the sweetest main characters. They have been friends for years, but they are afraid to let the other know they have deeper feelings as they don't want to mess up their friendship.
All Isla cares about is racing and Duncan is a youth pastor. Duncan tells Isla to make a list of 12 things she wants to do. He will try to make as many of them happen as he can. I won't give away anything else.
This book is perfect for those who love Hallmark, super sweet romances, friends to lovers, Christmas inspired books, etc.
I will listen to this story and over and over as it is so sweet! I will be trying other books by this author as I just loved this story.
The narration was nice as well. I felt like I was in the characters heads instead of listening to a narrator.
I received this audiobook at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Be careful what you wish for.......

Isla has been confined to a wheelchair since birth, but she doesn't let it slow her down. Her best friend is Duncan who she met at school when they were young. Duncan has not had the good home life and support given to Isla by her family. The two are best friends, but Duncan has had to fight for what he has, now having his dream job of being a youth minister. Isla's dream for many years has been to win gold at the paraplegic Olympic games. Duncan is her coach and helps her with her games and practice runs. When she gets tunnel vision about making winning first place the most important thing in her life, he encourages her to make a “bucket list” of other things she would like to do, but never had the opportunity to experience. Isla has been in love with her best friend Duncan as long as she can remember, so the last item on her list is to be kissed under the mistletoe at Christmas. Duncan is also in love with Isla but is afraid to cross the “friend’s zone”. Both secretly want the same thing, but don’t want to lose the other as a friend if things don’t work out. Duncan came up with the “bucket list” idea to spend more time with Isla other than just being her coach. Will his plan work out? Or will Isla still put her dream of winning first above everything else.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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That was a sweet story!

I loved this Christmas romance! It was different, but really good! I loved the main characters! I liked that they both loved each other, but they didn't tell each other. I liked the bucket list, so cute.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • JP
  • 08-22-19

What is important in life?

• The author caught my attention right from the beginning and drew me into the story with Isla's determination to qualify for rhe Paralympics.
• Isla and Duncan were characters that you wanted to discover more about as you listened to their story. The realization that they loved each other was believable.
• The descriptions of locations and emotions were well done and easy to visualize and to feel. I felt a part of the scenes.
• The pacing of the story was neither too slow nor too fast.
• There was a smooth, coherent flow to this book.
• This story had a satisfying ending.
• This novel was a clean read.
• I did not find this Christian contemporary romance preachy. Religion was just a natural part of the characters' lives. No lectures.
• The narrator did an excellent job in differentiating the various characters' voices.

I was given a free audiobook by the author. My review was voluntary and my opinions were my own.
Isla Duncan

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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It’s a very touching story!

When I asked Ms. Kari and she gave me this one as one of her suggestions to start with, I was intrigued since I chose not to read any write-ups about it. I loved it! I loved the whole message of how God made us just the way we are and we are perfect in our perceived imperfection. I also loved her emphasis of respect towards each other, especially those who are really vulnerable such as those handicapped in a way as well as those who are different from us. God made us equal and special regardless of color or race or social status and I appreciated it very much that it was part of this story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Read

Better Than First: A Contemporary Christmas Romance was a great read by Kari Trumbo. Isla’s coach and best friend, Duncan, challenged her to make a bucket list of twelve things she wants to do. With the increased time that she spends with Duncan she starts to see the value in everyday life. She also sees the possibility of love for herself. Little did she know that Duncan has loved her for at least ten years and he takes it upon himself to remind her what life can be like at Christmas time. I absolutely loved reading Isla and Duncan’s story and can’t wait to read more by Kari Trumbo. I loved how Emmalyn Miles narrated the story so that you fall in love with the characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Heartwarming story

This was my first book by Kari Trumbo, but it certainly won’t be my last. It’s a beautiful story about a handicapped woman training for the Paralympics, and her relationship with her coach and best friend. The narrator read faster than some, and I really appreciated that. I struggle with slow narrators.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An uplifting and inspirational story

I loved this story very much and while I don't have any physical limitations, I can relate to coming to terms with other disabilities and focusing on what really matters most in life. I loved Duncan's attitude and unwavering faith in the Lord. It was a very uplifting and encouraging story that practically anyone would benefit from reading/listening to, especially during difficult times in their own lives. I will spread the word to ALL my friends so they can benefit and become inspired by this book. This is my first Christian story I've read in many years but it won't be my last. Thank you for writing this fantastic and beautiful story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Natalya
  • CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA, United States
  • 08-07-19

Bucket List

What are the twelve most important things on your bucket list?
Lovely, sweet, feel good romance that makes you feel like dancing (at the prom)!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All opinions in this review are my own.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Rubi Rodriguez (Rubi's Bookshelf)
  • Rubi Rodriguez (Rubi's Bookshelf)
  • 09-04-19

Amazing

I loved this amazing short sweet romance. Narrator did an amazing job. Will keep an eye on this author.

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Profile Image for T I Wood
  • T I Wood
  • 08-24-19

A sweet story

A sweet story - Narration would have been better a little slower - it started out really fast but slowed down later in the story.
Narration would have been a little better with more emotion - it came out a little flat, but that is really picking at straws.

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Profile Image for Helen
  • Helen
  • 07-21-19

sweet christian romance

The story is a Christian romance story involving a woman with a disability. good story

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Tasha Barefield
  • Tasha Barefield
  • 07-20-19

Sweet friends who want more

This was a short and sweet friends to romance story with a Christian thread, this was sensitively done and not overly religious. I loved Duncan he was so patient, kind and understanding of everything Isla was going through. Isla changed and learns things abut herself through the story, it felt like these things had a message for the listener as well. There was a lovely character development and the story was kept moving with the list of things that Isla always wanted to do. The narration was good and clear but as a story written in the third person there wasn't much opportunity for changes in tone so it felt a little monotone at points. If you enjoy a sweet developing romance with a Christian/moral theme then you will love this story!